Press Releases

New York City Bar Association Urges Swift Repeal of ‘Don’t Ask Don’t Tell’


Eric Friedman
(212) 382-6754
Kathryn Inman

New York City Bar Association Urges Swift Repeal of ‘Don’t Ask Don’t Tell’

New York, February 24, 2010 – The New York City Bar Association is calling for the immediate repeal of the U.S. military ban on open service by lesbian, gay or bisexual individuals commonly referred to as ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.’

In a report submitted to the U.S. Senate Armed Services Committee, the City Bar urge s the Pentagon and Congress to act swiftly to repeal this law in the next Defense Authorization bill and create an effective implementation plan, and calls upon President Obama to follow through on his promise to end this discriminatory policy.

The Association’s Military Affairs, Civil Rights, and Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Rights Committees determined that since the enactment of ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,’ the military has not only stifled the rights of countless lesbian, gay and bisexual service-members, but has discharged over 13,000 qualified individuals from military service. Worse, these discharges are based on untrue assumptions of sexual orientation’s effect on retention, unit cohesion and battle readiness.

Lesbian, gay or bisexual service-members are subject to harsher penalties not faced by their heterosexual counterparts: their same-sex partners are not notified if they are wounded, missing, or killed in action, and entering a civil union or approaching law enforcement about a domestic dispute would provide grounds for discharge. The enforcement of unequal standards upon a particular group of service-members calls into question due process and violates the group’s constitutional right to equal protection under the law.

The report states, “[t]his discriminatory policy has denied numerous [lesbian, gay and bisexual] individuals the opportunity to serve their country, while denying the military the benefit of their talents and skills. [Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell] is both legally unsupportable and unsound as a matter of policy…This is not only critical to the lives and dignity of LGB individuals in the Armed Forces and their families, but also imperative to returning our Armed Forces to their fullest and most able capacity.”

Read the City Bar’s report submitted to the U.S. Senate Armed Services Committee outlining reasons for the repeal of ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ here.

About the Association

The New York City Bar Association ( was founded in 1870, and since then has been dedicated to maintaining the high ethical standards of the profession, promoting reform of the law, and providing service to the profession and the public. The Association continues to work for political, legal and social reform, while implementing innovative means to help the disadvantaged. Protecting the public’s welfare remains one of the Association’s highest priorities.